Olmert prosecution calls to try ‘Rishon Tours’ first

April 6, 2010 11:33

Citing new developments, prosecution files motion to reverse the order of proceedings in case.

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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert talks to the pre

olmert at court 311 AJ. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Citing new developments in the investigation into the “Rishon Tours” scandal, the prosecution in former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s corruption trial asked the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday morning to reverse the order of proceedings in the case.

Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel brought a motion to begin with the doubling-billing affair surrounding the embattled travel agency instead of the “cash envelopes” affair which implicated US businessman Morris Talansky.

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Olmert’s attorney Eli Zohar opposed the motion vigorously, saying it would significantly compromise the defendants’ rights. He asked in response that the proceedings be halted.

In the Rishon Tours case, Olmert is accused of double-billing his trips abroad to a private account with the travel agency, using donations and money that came from the state while he served as mayor of Jerusalem, minister of industry, trade and labor, and prime minister, to finance dozens of private trips for him and his family abroad.

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The inner-workings of case are believed to be particularly complex, and the defense would have difficulty shifting gears to respond to the reversal.

Judge Mossiah Erez criticized the motion as unprecedented, claiming cases involving ongoing investigations had been tried before without such requests being made.

The judges adjourned to discuss the request, but a decision was only expected in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the deliberations are proceeding according to the original order.

Deputy Jerusalem District Attorney Uri Korb, who had been suspended for making insulting remarks about judges during a lecture, has been returned to the case after making an apology. Korb started the day by apologizing again for his undiplomatic remarks.

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